|Murphy on the SportsCage Wednesday at Griffiths Stadium|
The two sides are far apart on a CFL deal for the offensive lineman out of Oklahoma whom Saskatchewan took with the top pick in the May Draft.
"I try to look at this from multiple angles," Murphy explained. "And I don't blame the kid. He's listening to people that he hired to do his business. What I can say is that the information that's been generated, we did not start out by offering him the lowest contract by any means. We did have a feeling that a couple of teams last year offered contracts that were exceedingly high for a rookie. We decided we are not going to continue that trend.
"The day of the Draft, we went out of our way to tell all three of the guys who were under consideration that what last year's #1 pick got would be the high-end that we would offer. If not, we were just going to offer the 1-and-1 deal and they were free to accept either one. Josiah St. John and his agent were well aware of that. I made that crystal clear when we settled on him that they knew that. Then we tried to negotiate on that between then and rookie camp.
"Once rookie camp started I said at that point if he wants to accept a 1-and-1, that we're open to it and let's see how things play out. Once training camp started we took the stance that we don't negotiate with holdouts and we don't negotiate with guys who don't appear when the dates are that are on the calendar.
"We went back and forth and his agent then sent back an offer that was, again, exceedingly high for any rookie player but I can tell you firsthand that both of the offers we've made of the long-term variety - which is what his agent wants - would make him the highest-paid player in this Draft and the second-highest paid player in the history of draft picks.
"So if we are offering a deficient deal, I don't really see where that's the case."
We asked Murphy what St. John's agent, Jonathan Hardaway, has for a history of negotiating CFL deals.
"About like what we're dealing with," Murphy laughed. "And to his credit, he got Matt O'Donnell and Henoc Muamba into the NFL. I don't take any personal offense to it. I've thrown them some zingers. I told his agent that if he doesn't sign here soon, he might want to create a time machine to make this kid relevant by the time he shows up.
"But I think you just have to take it day-by-day and if we don't have a successful negotiation by Monday or Tuesday, we go right back at it Wednesday or Thursday as his agent approaches us. But again, for the sanctity of your locker room and for the integrity of how we've done contracts in our league, you have to look at what the bigger picture is.
"If I give a dollar more than what the #1 pick got last year, I'm not only affecting this year's cap, I'm then saying next year that rookie pick will go up $5000, $7000 or $10,000 which means we are contributing to a situation that is not realistic. In the next two years we'll be dealing with the CBA whether you're a player, agent, team, GM or coach at every level, you're creating a false sense of security for these players to think you can enter the CFL at a near $90,000-$100,000 range and that wouldn't work in the economics of today's CFL.
"It doesn't create a good sense of locker room camaraderie and it doesn't create a good sense of the veteran guys that'll see themselves in a pinch at the end of training camp. The last thing we're going to do is put a guy that's out here working and sweating and trying to make himself and us better have to take a paycut at the end of training camp because we over-indulged a rookie."
The Roughriders will be back on the Griffiths Stadium turf - without Josiah St. John - Thursday morning at 9:00 for Day 5 of 2016 Training Camp.